Providing condition-based maintenance at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

To deal with increasing labour shortages and consistently high passenger expectations, airports need to find ways to ensure seamless operations so they can offer the best possible passenger experience. One big obstacle to delivering flawless service is the breakdown or stoppage of an essential asset in the baggage handling system (BHS), which can result in downtime, flight delays and a high risk of mishandled bags.

To keep a BHS running smoothly and minimise interruptions to service, it is crucial that important assets are well maintained. However, there is still a risk of unplanned downtime, even if maintenance is performed according to a regular schedule. At Vanderlande, we think that the introduction of condition-based maintenance can go a long way to mitigate this challenge.

“Condition-based maintenance can help to mitigate the challenges of unplanned downtime of essential assets.”
Valerie Goemans
Product Manager Digital

Smart use of data

That’s why we collaborated with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol through a project to transform maintenance activities into a more data-driven and proactive approach. This is in line with the airport’s desire to continuously improve its processes through the smart use of data.

We wanted to prove that real-time data about vibrations and temperature – gathered through sensors placed on assets – can be used to indicate health, and provide early warning mechanisms before malfunctions occur. With these insights and inspections, maintenance can become more efficient and proactive planning becomes possible.

We began work by analysing vibration, temperature and PLC data related to BHS incidents that took place in 2018 and 2019. This revealed that 26% of incidents could have been identified before they occurred.

Based on this finding, we believed that implementing sensor technology and data analysis to enable condition-based maintenance would result in a similar percentage reduction in failures. If achieved, this would lead to approximately 750 fewer missed bags and a 162-hour reduction in required inspection time every year.

Deploying sensors technology

That initial analysis of the historical data helped us to identify critical areas with a significant operational impact. As a result, we installed 300 sensors on a number of assets, with almost two-thirds of them deployed on our TUBTRAX ICS twin-belt conveyors. The sensors measure temperature and vibrations at regular intervals. This data is transmitted in real time to dashboards that we have previously developed.

To easily identify deviations from expected values, the dashboards visualise a range of information including real-time temperature and trends; battery status; temperature comparisons; and real-time vibrations. Trends for the highest temperature and fastest change in temperature per day can also be visualised, along with work orders and SCADA alarms.

Delivering significant results

The project delivered a number of significant results. Between June 2021 and April 2022, a total of 42 inspections were triggered by our anomaly detection model. Problems were found in 83% of inspections, and action was needed in 60% of those cases.

Other issues that could be reliably detected through the data included loose plating, low oil levels and excessive timing-belt tension. Ball bearing wear and brake pollution – as well as general pollution and friction – were also successfully detected.

In summary, we demonstrated that by monitoring vibrations and temperature, it is possible to indicate the status of an asset, predict failures and perform condition-based maintenance to prevent 26% of outages. The data we gathered helps to make inspections more efficient, while reducing unplanned downtime and the mishandled bag rate.

What the future holds

Our forward-looking strategy revolves around expanding our partnership to develop a viable sensor solution for asset health. This includes the wider deployment of sensors, fine-tuning our workflow, and implementing automated work order systems.

Feedback from the airport has been positive, with Zouhair el Maroudi, Service Manager Baggage, commenting: “Schiphol Group BV is constantly looking for innovations, especially if they contribute to our objectives. The implementation of sensor technology was the basis for condition-based maintenance with data. Combined with Vanderlande’s data-driven approach, this creates a future to prevent unplanned downtime.”

White paper

Introducing condition-based maintenance at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Would you like to know more about the technical details and specific results of condition-based maintenance at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol? We have published a white paper that provides greater detail about this project. Download a copy here. (No registration required)

Download the white paper